I'm pleased to announce that Geraldine Ryan has now judged the serial-writing competition from a couple of weeks back, and has sent me her judge's report. Many thanks to all who entered - we were both thrilled with the number and quality of the entries. All of you should carry on and see if you can complete a serial or at least a crime story, from your 200-word beginnings!
So, here's what Geri had to say:
I really enjoyed reading everyone’s competition entries. The standard was very high and it hasn’t been easy to judge. Before the winner is revealed I’d like to make a few observations about the writing.
The most convincing characters are always those captured in action. Obviously characters grow in the telling of the story but I particularly loved Loveday Ross’s energy, Julie Smith’s mysterious 1920’s female sleuth and Sally Jenkins’ Tower Captain. All strong, independent women perfectly capable of solving a crime single-handedly against the odds.
Everyone who submitted their 200 words understood that setting is just as important as character in a successful crime mystery. Village settings are familiar but no less intriguing for that – in fact give readers a village setting and immediately they know they’re in for a good old cosy crime, full of twists and turns in which evil will be destroyed and good triumph. Other settings were 1920’s London complete with fog, a bookshop, a newspaper office, a TV studio and a seaside guest house – all self-contained places with lots of opportunity for conflict and red-herrings by the bucket.
There was an excellent use of humour and dialogue to further the plot as well as paint character in many of the stories. I particularly loved the use of humour from Otternator, Stevie Carroll and Pat Posner.
In the end it all comes down to personal choice. I’d like to single out Rena and Julie in particular who came pretty close but there can only be one winner. The winner is Sally Jenkins and her bell ringing mystery.
This is a world I know nothing of and I expect that goes for most of us. Sally’s knowledge of her subject feels genuine and is impressive without sounding overly researched. After the immediate sense of unease that comes with that opening sentence she drops in detail after detail, building up the mood and the setting. I feel I am in safe hands with her intelligent heroine. I am aware that she has her enemies too – the old guard who think she’s both too young and too female to hold the position of Tower Captain and look forward to discovering how that conflict is resolved. I really have no idea where this story is going but I’m intrigued to find out.
Thank you to everyone for joining in and I hope you all feel you’d like to take your serial idea further even if you haven’t won this time.
Congratulations to Sally on a marvellous win! Please email me via the Contact Me link on this blog and I'll put you in touch with Geri who'll send your prize.
Also, remember the guest post from Nicola Morgan a month back? Nicola was offering prizes of synopsis critiques to all commenters on posts during her blog tour. I'm delighted to say that one of this blog's readers, Suzanne Jones, was picked as a winner. Well done Suzanne!